Written by David Suzuki (Author), Wayne Grady (Author), Robert Bateman (Illustrator)
Publication Date: February 22, 2007
“Only God can make a tree,” wrote Joyce Kilmer in one of the most celebrated of poems. In Tree: A Life Story, authors David Suzuki and Wayne Grady extend that celebration in a “biography” of this extraordinary — and extraordinarily important — organism. A story that spans a millennium and includes a cast of millions but focuses on a single tree, a Douglas fir, Tree describes in poetic detail the organism’s modest origins that begin with a dramatic burst of millions of microscopic grains of pollen. The authors recount the amazing characteristics of the species, how they reproduce and how they receive from and offer nourishment to generations of other plants and animals. The tree’s pivotal role in making life possible for the creatures around it — including human beings — is lovingly explored. The richly detailed text and Robert Bateman’s original art pay tribute to this ubiquitous organism that is too often taken for granted.
From Publishers Weekly
Visitors to the Pacific Northwest often find themselves awed by the size of the trees, especially the grand and ubiquitous "Douglas-fir." In this slight, lovely book, environmentalist Suzuki (The Sacred Balance) and Grady (The Bone Museum) tell the tale of one Douglas-fir tree that lived for more than five centuries ("Around the time its seed was soaking in the sunshine... the Aztec Empire was building its capital city"). Woven into the narrative is a history of botany, the study of which developed during the tree’s life (a digression about the Big Bang and the formation of organic molecules feels unnecessary, though). Facts about the species awe: old Douglas-firs can have 12-inch thick fireproof bark, and it can take 36 hours for water to get from the roots to the canopy. "If left alone," write the authors, "our tree would grow forever." Bateman’s misty drawings offer portraits of the tree’s companions—woodpeckers, eagles, mice, ferns—whose lives are more fleeting. Suzuki and Grady lament the loss of old-growth forests and their biodiversity, showing how each tree is part of a massive, interconnected web of organisms including fungi, birds and insects. This book is both a touching look at a single tree and an articulate testimony to nature’s cyclic power. 13 b&w illus.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Trees are among the oldest living organisms on the planet; the oldest tree in North America, a bristlecone pine, may be 4,600 years old. Suzuki and Grady's engaging "biography" covers 700 years in the life of a Pacific Northwest Douglas fir. Each stage in the tree's life is placed not only within the context of history but also an ecological context. When the tree is 15 years old at the end of the Middle Ages, for example, the authors discuss Gutenberg and his printing press, as well as the Douglas fir's primitive form of pollination, by wind, which evolved before there were flying insects. The tree coexists with the pileated woodpecker, the painted suillus mushroom, the lungless salamander, and the bald eagle. After its seven centuries of life, the tree falls to the forest floor to serve as a "nurse log" to young hemlock trees. This happy melding of history, natural history, and biography is further enhanced by Robert Bateman's fine illustrations to create an instructive and graceful look at the interconnectedness of life. Rebecca Maksel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Greystone Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (February 22, 2007)
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